Creating An Exotic Conservatory Paradise

We talk to exotic plants enthusiast and interior design fanatic Josie Plummer about how she created a veritable garden of Paradise in her conservatory, and what it takes to be a ‘plant-momma’ to over a hundred species of cacti, succulents and palms…

How did this house plant obsession start?

Two years ago I was given a Never Never plant by a friend for a birthday present. I was a little taken back at first. Despite growing up in the countryside, I’d never really been a ‘nature lover’, but now I had this living thing that I was responsible for. The plant came with a little card explaining its likes and dislikes, and soon it had taken pride of place in my conservatory. It was after a month had passed that I’d realised how much I’d enjoyed looking after it and that’s when I started to consider buying more to keep it company

Where do you get your house plants from?

I source them from all over really. It sounds silly, but the majority of the plants that I get in are ‘rescues’. Friends and family know about my little hobby, so whenever they need to get rid of a plant or see one on the side of the road, I have a new member to welcome into the clan! If I’m looking for a specific plant then I’ll head to one of many online shops in my bookmark list. At the moment I’m loving Root for their excellent attention to detail and wide catalogue.

How long does it take to feed and water your entire collection?

All of my plants have their own needs and requirements, part of the satisfaction in owning so many is learning about where they’ve come from and how that affects their dietary requirements. For example, a Swiss Cheese plant (otherwise known as Monstera Deliciosa) will struggle in temperatures of less than 10 degrees Celsius, and it’s important to let its soil properly dry out before watering it anymore.

Is there an end in sight to this collection?

Unfortunately, I am starting to run out of space in my conservatory! One of the side effects of going to such lengths to look after my plants means that I rarely lose any to malnourishment or any other kind of death. I’ve been steadily accumulating these wonderful creatures for years now, but I’m getting to a point now where I literally can’t fit any more here. I may even have to start selling some myself!

How has your notoriety for being this ‘crazy plant lady’ changed your relationship with the countryside community? 

I’ve become a bit of a local legend in recent years, especially amongst the Women’s Institute and Gardening circles. Rumours have been flying around for years that I’m growing cannabis, of all things,  I’ve even had a few words with the local constable about my plants! Recently I’ve been trying to demystify my status as the ‘crazy plant lady’ by inviting interested parties around to look at my collection and explain what I’m doing here. On occasions, I’m even able to send a couple of plants off to new homes!

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